When you think of West County Center, its iconic dove immediately comes to mind. The symbol dates back to the center’s grand opening in 1969, when Famous-Barr released the birds in celebration. “The dove became a landmark for West County Center,” marketing director Sean Phillips explains. “It points toward the west because in the late 1960s the metropolitan area was expanding in that direction. It represents peace and hope for St. Louis’ growth.” Now, the symbol is at the heart of a new initiative to celebrate the community’s connection with the center.

The Dove Love program lets shoppers show their love for West County Center by putting a heart-shaped magnet on their cars. Through Nov. 24, shoppers with magnets have the opportunity to win more than $1,000 in prizes, including gift cards and merchandise. There’s also the chance to win a $100 gift card to the West County store of your choice by posting a selfie with #ihavedovelove to Facebook or Instagram with your car magnet or in front of the Dove Love flower wall in the restaurant village at the center. “We started the Dove Love initiative last year with an art display and continued it this spring with the Birthday Buddies program,” Phillips says. “This is part three, and we wanted to take the opportunity to give prizes to people who love the center.”

Dove Love magnets can be picked up for free at seating areas throughout the mall or participating stores, including Things Remembered, Attic Salt, J. Jill and Hallmark. Eric Tschannen, one of the new owner’s of West County’s Hallmark, is excited about what the program represents. “It’s really about building community and continuing to strengthen that bond,” he says. “At Hallmark, we’re all about helping people connect with others, so Dove Love is right in line with our values. We hope people participate and enjoy it.”

With Tschannen and his partners taking over management of Hallmark at West County, the store now is locally owned. He notes the local ownership comes with benefits, including a better understanding of the St. Louis market and faster fulfillment thanks to their warehouse in Illinois. “We’re closer to our community than someone making decisions in a boardroom states away,” he says. “We really like being at West County Center. It’s a beautiful location full of great businesses.” He adds that people can look forward to a lot from Hallmark as the holiday season approaches, including its ornament launch in October and an open house in November.

Hallmark isn’t the only recent addition of local ownership at West County Center. Pure Perfection Candles specializes in all-natural home fragrance and self care items alongside on-site candle making. In addition, the center recently welcomed sports memorabilia shop Chesterfield Baseball Cards. Opening later this fall, Amerinkas will offer Native American inspired gifts, decor and apparel, and shoppers will be able to explore a wide selection of home decor at Home Sweet Home. “Guests are always looking for unique items, and our new stores offer a wide range of merchandise,” Phillips says. “And these only scratch the surface of what’s new at West County Center, including the reopening of the Starbucks kiosk just in time for pumpkin spice latte season. We hope people will come out and see all we have to offer.”

With new offerings, stores and promotions, fall is an exciting time at West County Center in Des Peres. Through Nov. 24, shoppers can show their love for the center through the Dove Love program. For more information, visit shopwestcountycenter.com.

Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo by Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton Photography

Pictured at top: West County Center marketing director Sean Phillips at the Dove Love wall.
Photo: Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton Photography